Clarinda Harriss is a professor emerita of English at Towson University, where she taught poetry, editing, and modern literature for decades, during one of which she was the Chair of English. Her most recent poetry collections are Air Travel, Mortmain, and Dirty Blue Voice. Harriss's poems and short fiction are widely anthologized. She directs BrickHouse Books, Maryland's oldest literary press. Her ongoing research interest is in prison writers. She and Moira Egan recently edited Hot Sonnets (Entasis Press, 2011), a collection of modern erotic sonnets. CityLit has established the Harriss Award for Poetry in her honor. Novelist Geoff Becker says that poems by Harriss "have the clarity of early light and the seductiveness of dreams."
Karen Garthe grew up in Baltimore and attended Towson High School. When she graduated in 1968, she went to New York to study dance, then embarked on numerous careers in a broad swath of venues in New York City. Clarinda Harriss was her English teacher at Towson and Faculty Advisor to the school literary magazine of which she was editor-in-chief. Garthe won the 2005 Colorado Prize for her first book, Frayed Escort. The Banjo Clock was published in June 2012 by the University of California Press. Reviewing The Banjo Clock in The Huffington Post, Seth Abramson says, "Karen Garthe writes some of the most expert—and tightly wound—lyric poems you'll ever read.[...] What Garthe is offering today's poetry readers is a reason to read poetry rather than prose, to listen to poetry rather than electronica, to inhabit a verse environment rather than some workaday multimedia environment whose [...] dimensions are as unlikely to educate as they are to inspire."